Page 1386 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 April 2005

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The questions that we will be asking are: has an audit been conducted to identify vulnerable areas, since landform and soil types are fairly reliable indicators? Do we have public awareness programs in place to educate Canberra gardeners, park managers and farmers about watering methods that reduce salinity risk? What is the territory government doing to monitor and implement its catchment plans? Indeed, Mr Speaker, where are those plans?

The second article reinforces the need for management plans that maximise the ability of the Cotter catchment to produce good quantities of high-quality water. This article, headed “Pipe plan for water may delay dam need”, reads:

A plan to top-up the depleted Googong Dam with water from the Cotter catchment could provide relief for Canberra from water restrictions and defer the need for a decision on a new dam, Actew chief executive Michael Costello said yesterday … Transferring water to Googong Dam through existing infrastructure did not require government approval and was not included in the six options.

The options studied by Actew. The article continues:

Mr Costello said it had become clear the new Stromlo treatment plant was extremely robust, treating up to 300 megalitres a day, well above winter and spring needs. Without interfering with the environmental flow requirements for the Cotter River, water could be transferred to Googong Dam through the existing pipeline.

The Greens welcome the fact that this option is being considered by Actew, but I would just like to point out in this adjournment debate that this is yet another very good argument as to why we need to manage the Cotter catchment for its water production facility, to come up with a catchment plan that does exactly that and to make sure that uses within that catchment are regulated and enhance that particular function.

People with hearing impairment

MRS BURKE (Molonglo) (6.14): Mr Speaker, I rise tonight to thank a few people, you being one of them, Barbara Locke from the education unit and the Administration and Procedure Committee, for their support for and interest in the trial that we had today concerning the Auslan interpretation for people with a hearing disability. I think that there was a great spirit of cooperation amongst all involved. A lot of hard work went into it, from Barbara Locke’s area in particular. I forgot to mention Max Kiermaier as well. I must not forget Max. Thank you to everybody. I think that it was quite heartening.

Members may or may not know that I wrote to the Speaker some weeks ago about whether we could have a trial and the Speaker kindly pursued the request. Indeed, today the Speaker had the pleasure of welcoming the people involved to the Assembly. I think that it would be right to say that there were about 20 people there. It was great to see some young students among them. We talk a lot in this place about inclusion and it really is important where we see and identify gaps that we fill those gaps. I hope that through your support, Mr Speaker, and that of the Assembly, we have been able to do that today. I am sure that the people who came here, not only the people who were able to understand the Assembly’s proceedings but also the people watching the Auslan interpreters actually doing their work, found the proceedings quite fascinating.

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